Hard Work is Golden

Jenna - Acton, Massachusetts
Entered on February 1, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Hard Work is Golden

As I grow older, my knowledge and perception of the world expand with each passing year. I have learned that luck cannot always be relied on. I have learned that fate can be altered. And I have learned that if you really want to achieve something, you have to work hard for it.

I believe in working hard. Ever since I was little, my parents encouraged me to work hard to pursue my dreams. My parents worked extremely hard to immigrate to the United States and start a new life for themselves.

My dad, especially, had to overcome many obstacles to reach his current position. He grew up in the rural countryside of China, during the Cultural Revolution. He had four siblings, money was scarce, and learning was discouraged. Dad had a curiosity for learning and wanted to do well in school. In 1976, learning suddenly became important again in China and he transferred to a new school for his second year of high school at twelve years old. My dad’s new school was the only good high school in the whole county and was two hours away from his home by bicycle. His family could not afford to rent a room for him so he had to stay with a distant relative. Dad didn’t have enough to eat and constantly felt hungry, but still worked hard and excelled in his studies. In 1979, he took the entrance exam for college. He passed the exam and at age fifteen he went to the University of Nanjing, one of the best universities in China. Four years later when he was nineteen, my dad graduated from college with honors and was later admitted into the graduate school of Harvard University. He worked diligently as a graduate student and received his PhD from Harvard with many publications. Thanks to all his hard work, my dad fulfilled his dream to be successful. Today, he is a renowned astrophysicist who enjoys his research in astronomy.

Like my dad, I have had to work hard to overcome a problem, although the obstacle was not as big as his. I have a bad habit of making careless mistakes, especially in math. The problem started when I was in third grade and began adding simple numbers incorrectly or just forgetting a problem altogether. For a while, I categorized my mistakes as just a stroke of bad luck. As the years went on though, the curriculum steadily got more complicated and the number of errors I made increased dramatically. I finally realized that I would have to work harder to overcome my careless problem if I wanted to be an excellent student. I spent long periods of time to learn the material with more depth and immediately asked for clarification if any aspect of the material was unclear to me. All my hard work has been rewarded because now I hardly make careless errors anymore.

Hard work brings me satisfaction and happiness in so many different ways. When I was in 6th grade, I participated in the turkey trot, a voluntary fundraising run that my school was holding. The participants needed to find sponsors to donate money for each lap that they planned to run around the school. The money raised from the turkey trot would be donated to the Acton Community Supper for needy families. During the weekend, I spent an hour walking around the town center neighborhoods in the cold, asking for donations in exchange for running eight laps around my school. I didn’t realize how far of a stretch eight laps was for my running ability until the day of the run. Despite my burning lungs and aching legs, I worked hard to keep my promise of eight laps. I raised a total of $64 in contributions and the money was donated just in time for Thanksgiving. I felt so much joy in being able to make a contribution and knew that my hard work truly paid off.

I believe that hard work can bring people joy, happiness, and success. After all, luck can be fickle, fate can be uncertain, but hard work is always reliable.